We are providing this explanation of steps you can take to protect your information. As a precautionary measure, we recommend that you remain vigilant for incidents of fraud and identity theft by reviewing your account statements and credit reports closely. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies listed below once every 12 months by visiting http://www.annualcreditreport.com or calling toll-free 1-877-322-8228. You can also report any fraudulent activity or any suspected identity theft to proper law enforcement authorities, your state attorney general and/or the Federal Trade Commission. To file a complaint about identity theft with the FTC or to learn more, go to www.ftc.gov/idtheft, call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
We suggest you place a fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert is free and will stay on your credit file for at least 90 days. The alert informs creditors of possible fraudulent activity within your report and requests that the creditor contact you prior to establishing any accounts in your name. If you would like to place a fraud alert on your credit report, contact any of the credit reporting agencies using the contact information below. The Federal Trade Commission has a good website with an overview and guidance on this issue at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs. You can also contact them at: Federal Trade Commission or write to: Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Or, call 1-877-ID-THEFT.
You may have the right to put a credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, on your credit file, so that no new credit can be opened in your name without the use of a PIN number that is issued to you when you initiate a freeze. A credit freeze is designed to prevent potential credit grantors from accessing your credit report without your consent. If you place a credit freeze, potential creditors and other third parties will not be able to get access to your credit report unless you temporarily lift the freeze. Therefore, using a credit freeze may delay your ability to obtain credit. In addition, you may incur fees to place, lift and/or remove a credit freeze. Credit freeze laws vary from state to state. The cost of placing, temporarily lifting, and removing a credit freeze also varies by state, generally $5 to $20 per action at each credit reporting company. Unlike a fraud alert, you must separately place a credit freeze on your credit file at each credit reporting company. Since the instructions for how to establish a credit freeze differ from state to state, please contact the major credit reporting companies as specified below to find out more information:
Equifax: P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348, www.equifax.com
Experian: P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013, www.experian.com
TransUnion LLC: P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA, 19022-2000, www.transunion.com/credit-freeze
Innovis: 1-800-540-2505, www.innovis.com/personal/securityFreeze
You can obtain more information about fraud alerts and credit freezes by contacting the FTC or one of the national credit reporting agencies listed above. A good resource for explaining how to place a credit freeze is at https://clark.com/credit/credit-freeze-and-thaw-guide/.
IRS Tax Return Information
If you suspect that a fraudulent tax return has or may be filed using your social security number, you should contact the IRS and file a complaint immediately. For more information, see https://www.irs.gov/uac/taxpayer-guide-to-identity-theft. If you receive a 5071C letter from the IRS indicating that there has been fraudulent activity, see the information at https://idverify.irs.gov/IE/e-authenticate/welcome.do. The TurboTax website also has good information at https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/General-Tax-Tips/Identity-Theft--What-to-Do-if-Someone-Has-Already-Filed-Taxes-Using-Your-Social-Security-Number/INF23035.html